BODY CENTERED INQUIRY
Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
In order to climb out of any rut, resolve any problem or sense your path from a new perspective, you have to shift your awareness.
Body-Centered Inquiry cultivates this awakening through the exploration of three core practices:
- Insight (Vipassana) Meditation teaches you to pause and recognize what is present, al-lowing you to see with increasing clarity into the nature of things.
- Sense-based awareness connects you to the “felt sense” of how your body is holding your experience. You investigate the field of direct sensation, which can result in access to wisdom and compassion.
- Inquiry directs your attention to new possibilities and helps you get out of the box of the linear, rational mind.
Combined, these techniques generate a unique, in-depth experience of awakened heart and mind.
These sessions are informed by the practice of Focusing.
Focusing comes from the pioneering work of psychologist and philosopher Eugene Gendlin when he collaborated with Carl Rogers at the University of Chicago. He and colleagues studied why some psychotherapy clients improved while many others did not.
It was found that successful therapy was not determined by the therapist’s technique, orientation or the kind of problem being discussed.
What did make a difference was what the client was doing internally.
Successful clients were regularly checking inside themselves for a whole bodily felt sense of their situation. These findings led to much further research in the last fifty years and to exact un-derstandings about how this process works.
More than just being in touch with your feelings, Focusing cultivates wakefulness and a sense of being vibrantly alive and at home in your body.
You Might Be Interested in Body-Centered Inquiry If:
- You have challenging issues you’d like to address such as anxiety, depression, anger, ad-diction, lack of creativity and intimacy.
- You are looking for a therapeutic modality that is fully integrated with a path of spiritual awakening.
- You sense the limitations of ‘talk therapy’ and want to engage into a modality that is more ‘embodied’ and energetically dynamic in nature.
- You want to explore applying mindfulness practices to deep transformational work.
The form of inquiry can help you to:
- Develop the capacity for radical self-acceptance
- Heighten the mind/body connection and open to a more full experience of aliveness and vitality
- Transform “enemies” like self-criticism and confusion into powerful allies
- Make decisions and solve problems more creatively
- Overcome procrastination, perfectionism and the need to control
- Access the rich inner life that is obscured by repetitive thoughts and feelings
- Become a better, more emotionally attuned partner, coworker parent and friend
- Learn to trust your body and it’s wisdom so you know what you really feel and want
I have trained with Robert Lee, Phd, who has developed the modality of Domain Focusing and is a lead trainer in the Focusing community.
“The Focusing technique has helped me bypass the machinations of mind and take me directly to the cause of disquiet. I began one session aware of a mild headache and 40 minutes later was crying from grief, missing my late mother. I had not been aware of missing her. As a facilitator in this process, Jonathan is extraordinary. It is a most personal journey and he is at once present and invisible during the experience. With complete concentration he keeps me focused on sensa-tions, gently inquiring, guiding, and always conveying deep respect. The sessions are success-ful and Jonathan is absolutely the Best.”
– Catherine F.
My Personal Experience in Focusing
I first learned about Focusing in 1982. I’d just moved into the Kripalu Yoga Ashram at the age of 25 after teaching in a University in West Africa for two years and traveling on my bike in Africa and Europe. I’d been an avid practitioner of meditation and yoga since I was 15 and was passionate about learning more about consciousness and this ‘mind/body connection’ thing.
The small book by Eugene Gendlin entitled Focusing fell into my hands. The book explored how as we pay attention to the ‘felt sense’ of the body, particularly when we are aware of feeling less than great, those sensations, if we continue to stay engaged in a curious and spacious way, can result in a ‘felt shift’ – a sense of letting go, of relaxation or insight.
The writing was very simple and I played around with a few issues that were kicking around in my life at that time. Within a short period of experimentation I felt an almost magical sense of relief and release.
I went on to apply Gendlin’s teachings in my career as a teacher of yoga, meditation and as a mind/body therapist. Decades later, when I moved to Washington, DC and immersed myself ev-er-deeper into the world of mindfulness (Vipassana) meditation, I could not help but make a deeper connection to the amazing matrix of sensation and awareness.
My formal training in Focusing has been rich and expansive. I remain thrilled at the results people find through this modality. Perhaps what excites me the most is the fact that this is more than just a ‘fix’ for working with problematic issues. This is a training that profoundly enhances both the quality of attention and quality of compassion we bring into our lives.
“Focusing helped me to make some important steps in moving toward my dreams and following a call in my life. Jonathan served as a compassionate spiritual midwife to help me give birth to what was already in me. He inspired trust and put me at ease, guiding me to mindfulness of the messages in my heart and body. As a result, I have moved from a place of inaction to beginning a CD and claiming the value of the music I feel called to share with others.The process also left me with some very helpful images on which to focus when I have moments of confusion or questioning. I am very thankful for the experience!”
– Kim C.
To Learn More About Body-Centered Inquiry
The Focusing Institute is perhaps the best source for related information, articles, trainings, pro-cess models and inspiration.
You can also listen to a half-hour interview with me on the Focusing website discussing the relationship between Focusing and Mindfulness.
Sessions can run up to 75 minutes and the fee is $150 - $225 (sliding scale).